Re: Gal 5:5: completely impenetrable

Carl W. Conrad (
Tue, 8 Oct 1996 06:21:25 -0500

At 3:44 AM -0500 10/8/96, Jonathan Robie wrote:

"which, being interpreted, is: BOHQEITE!"

>The other day, I skipped over this verse, but the more I chew on it, the more
>impenetrable it becomes:
>Can anybody rescue me?

" . . . from this body of death?" That requires a savior,not a B-Greek list!

The fruits of my mastication (not a very appealing metaphor, is it?): I
think we have to understand ELPIDA DIKAIOSUNHS in eschatological terms.
Justification, as I understand Paul (IF I understand Paul!) is a complex
matter, in part the future declaration--at the Last Judgment--that the
believer is righteous and admitted to life in the Age to come, but also in
part, the process begun at the moment of faith-commitment to God's saving
power in Christ, a process of transformation of the believer from
"peccator" to "justus." If that much is valid, then I think the verse can
be "hyper-translated" thus: "The reason (why the attempt to win
justification by Law results in being cut off from grace {5:4}) is that by
means of the Spirit we acquire our expectation of justification (i.e. our
expectation that we SHALL be made righteous) as a consequence of our (or
Christ's? or both ours and Christ's?) faith/faithfulness."

I argued last week that in that highly intimate address by Paul to the
Corinthian congregation (Gal 4:8-20) there was a necessity for reading
between the lines in tentative hopes for filling in the gaps and discerning
what was not said but surely implied. Actually I think that is just as true
in this very different, much more rhetorically charged passage. Each word
is a sort of cipher, charged with theological baggage that requires careful
unpacking. What I've suggested is one rather quick and very incomplete
"unpacking." I'm sure there will be others.

>> Then are the vendors already out on the streets with their braziers
>> lit up and hawking "Heisse Maroni?"
>Never saw that. I've seen them hawking the uncooked ones all over, though.
>reminds me of a joke...
>While a man walks by a German sausage stand, the vendor shouts, "Heisse
>Bockwurst!" The man looks at the vendor, smiles, tips his hat, and says,
>"Angenehm, heisse Mueller!"

Immer noch der freche Kerl ist der Bube!

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR